The San Francisco 49ers pray together in the locker room before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on Feb. 2 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
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NFL players could be fined, docked game checks, and lose contract guarantees for attending indoor church services that are too crowded, Pro Football Talk reported.
The rule is among restrictions agreed to between the NFL and the players union as they prepare for the 2020 season in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio writes:
Per multiple sources, the deal specifically prohibits players from engaging in certain behaviors this season. Players cannot attend indoor night clubs, indoor bars (except to pickup food), indoor house parties (with 15 or more people), indoor concerts, professional sporting events, or indoor church services that allow attendance above 25 percent of capacity.
Players can be fined for violating these rules. Moreover, if they test positive after engaging in prohibited activities, they will not be paid for the games they miss. Also, future guarantees in their contracts would be voided.
The NFL is looking to avoid the kind of disruption that Major League Baseball is currently dealing with because half the players and several coaches on the Miami Marlins tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, two of MLB's teams have been temporarily isolated, and the league is scrambling to rearrange its schedule.
NFL teams are much larger than professional basketball teams, making a plan like the NBA's Orlando bubble unfeasible for the NFL. Therefore, the NFL's plan relies heavily on personal responsibility and accountability by players.
Even in the NBA's restrictive bubble, where all NBA players, coaches, team staff, and selected members of the media are living and playing within the Disney World campus, players haven't always stayed in line. The NBA season begins Thursday.
Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers will miss a couple of games after getting caught violating league rules by going to a strip club, allegedly to pick up food. He will have to quarantine for 10 days.
The NFL rules will allow players to go to bars to pick up food if they choose.
It's worth noting that when college football workouts began in June, teams saw numerous positive COVID-19 tests. Those positive results caused some teams to pause workouts, but they did not result in serious illness or the derailing of plans to go forward with the season—although there is some consideration being given to playing it in the spring.
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